The Vendée Globe: Splendid isolation - point Nemo Beckons
Sunday, December 27, 2020 9:04 AM
At less than one day from Point Nemo, the most isolated point on earth, Yannick Bestaven still has company in the shape of Charlie Dalin who is less than 50 miles behind. But as Thomas Ruyant finally profits from his more northerly position of recent days and returns to third, the leading pair have their buffer of nearly 270 miles.
Bestaven’s position and timing remains better than his nearest rival’s. Dalin is closer to the ice barrier and will have to tack again but they have still not found the faster reaching conditions yet.
They are now just less than one week to Cape Horn which all of the top three skippers should round for their first time. Certainly for the two leaders the forecast suggests they will get the full Cape Horn experience with winds in the Drake Strait exceeding 45kts with big seas and as of just now it is hard to see how they will avoid it without slowing down from the middle of the week.
The chasing group should be able to enjoy better breeze from this afternoon, not on Ruyant’s best side but he is best positioned to the north of this group and he should be able to open miles at the head of the peloton.
The light winds for the group should continue to benefit the hard pressing Louis Burton who has been very close to the exclusion zone during the night (European time) but he will be the first of this group to get the new wind and can be expected to close right up. His closest ‘target’ Benjamin Dutreux had technical problems yesterday with a headsail which required him to go north to make a fix. He is doing just over nine knots this morning and may still benefit from his positioning.
As for the other skippers who are more than 900 miles from the leader (almost three days), They will have to work hard to maintain that delta: Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X) is able to sail straight along the AEZ, but will have to watch in her rear view mirror because Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence) should benefit from ideal conditions for his foiling scow: reaching fast on relatively flat seas. He can still harbour hopes of catching the lead group for the climb up the Atlantic.
Alan Roura (La Fabrique) has sorted his keel problems and his boat watching carefully. Behind him, Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) and Pip Hare (Medallia) are being affected by a depression coming from Tasmania which should abate for them on Monday , but in the meantime it is a chance to make great speeds under New Zealand.
As for the Beyou-Le Diraison-Costa trio further back, under Tasmania, they are in the tail of the system with a very crossed sea which does not allow them to take any real advantage of the strong N’ly winds. Manuel Cousin (Groupe Sétin) on a more northerly route has it better as does the Japanese sailor Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG MORI Global One) behind it in the south-west sector flow.
Finally Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) followed by Clément Giraud (Compagnie du Lit-Jiliti) were able to finish the straight line of the AMSA plateau defined by the Australian maritime security services: the way is now more open for them to dive south to get out of the Indian Ocean.